Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I wanna be more stylin'er!" -- responsibilty & ability at 4?!?!

Way back in the late summer / early fall, my then 3 year old daughter was introduced to Hannah Montana and quickly fell head-over-heels, I-wanna-be-just-like-her obsessed with all things Hannah. We're talking the same episodes OVER and OVER again on Family Channel (the break from Treehouse was nice, I must admit), watching the movie 3-4 times a day, rewinding the "Hoe Down Throw Down" to ad nauseum(everyone in the house can do that dance now! I swear even the 11 month old knows parts of it!), etc.

Soon after our introduction to Miss Hannah, my already-fashion-conscious diva started a mission of
"wanting to be more stylin'er" than Hannah Montana everyday.
This daily mission involved copious wardrobe changes, tears, tantrums, and one gawd-awful messy bedroom! My hubby and I were near at our wits' end trying to navigate our way through her piles of stylin' vs. rejected clothing! (I wasn't nearly as frustrated as him, well... first of all because my younger sister used to go through 5 and 6 outfits a day when she was a kid...well... she never really outgrew it... and secondly, I didn't mind too much because I'm female!)

Anyway, the outfits progressed to the shoes, and boots, and hair all having to be "more stylin'er".

No biggy, I thought. One day, while at the shopping mall, little diva asked if she could get her ears pierced. Now, I don't know what it was - divine intervention? - but I told her she had to phone her dad to ask him for permission, too. She did. He responded with a very firm "NO!" She was a teary, snotty, devastated mess... in the mall... with me... (why did I make her call him?!?!)

However, my girl is stubborn like her mother aunt, and she didn't give up. She would ask her father almost daily if she could get her ears pierced. By this time, she was, afterall, 4 years old and really felt that she should get them pierced.

So, my hubby thought long and hard about this one evening, and we talked. He thought it would be good for her to learn about responsibility and earning her way towards something. (Huh? He thinks too much!)
The next day when he came home from work, he explained to her that IF she could keep her room clean & tidy, and IF she learned to control her tantrums over clothing, among other things, she could get her ears pierced before mommy returned to work. This was October. My return to work is February 1st!
"How many more sleeps?!?!" (at the time we were counting sleeps to Halloween and Christmas and hockey games and visits to Grammie's house and...well, you get the idea.)
Ugh... "Um... like... 70 more sleeps..." I assured her (?)
She cleaned her room that day.  And again the next week. And she learned how to fold shirts, pants, socks, underwear. She learned how to find a place for everything. She learned how to sort laundry! (And our little 'secret' is, she likes to hide some things in the closet in the hallway, but Daddy hasn't figured that out yet! ) She even started sweeping and dusting her room! at  f o u r  y e a r s  o l d ! Even the tantrums eventually started to peter off.

Like you reading this, I never ever thought this would work; how could a 4 year old handle such responsibility? Would she even know how to follow through with this? (Did she know how to clean?) Nor did I ever think those sleeps would come to an end! I answered every single day since then:
"How many more sleeps til I can get my ears pierced, Mommy?!?!"
And, you know what? She cleaned and swept that room again today. It's spotless. It's neater than my room. In fact, it's the neatest room in the house!

But, even more importantly, there are only 3 more sleeps 'til those little, deserving ears get pierced!
Look out, Hannah Montana... my little, stubborn, determined girl is coming at ya... earrings and all... more stylin'er than you! ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A new look at life in 2010

I received this in an email today. Thought I'd post it here.

A Poem About Our Girlfriends

Someone will always be prettier.

Someone will always be smarter.

Some of their houses will be bigger.

Some will drive a better car.

Their children will do better in school.

And their husband will fix more things around the house.

So let it go, and love you and your circumstances

Think about it!

The prettiest woman in the world can have hell in her heart.

The most highly favored woman on your job may be unable to have children.

The richest woman you know, she's got the car, the house, the clothes~ might be lonely.

So, love who you are.

Look in the mirror in the morning and smile and say,

“I am too Blessed to be Stressed and too Anointed, to be Disappointed!”

“Winners make things happen~~ Losers let things happen.”

Be “Blessed” ladies and pass this on to encourage another woman.

“To the world you might be one person, to me you are special!”
 -- ♥ a special shout out to Tara, Jess, Melissa, Jody, Kelly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The nagging reality...

Every night when I go to bed, every day when I wake up, every errant thought when I'm driving all revolve around the bitter reality -- I'm returning to work in two weeks. (pout)

I've been on maternity/parental leave for almost 14 months. I'm a teacher, so if you count the weeks of vacation at Christmas, plus an extra week in there and the month of January all taken as sick days due to a very large belly and an SI joint that would not work properly, I've been off for over a year.

I took the year off in maternity/parental leave with my now four year old daughter. She was born in October, so by the time March came around, I was quite shack-whacky as the winter of 2006 provided us with quite a few snow storms. (Damn snow days when I'm not at work!) While I enjoyed being home and creating and living our own little routine, I knew in my heart I was not meant to be a stay-at-home mom and welcomed the thought of going back to work.

>> fast forward to the end of 2009 & the present, 2010 >>

So, here I am now. A stay-at-home mom of two (which, by the way, is a whole different kettle of fish!), who has been cranky, sleep-deprived, and in demand for the last ten months, basically. As much as I've bitched and complained, it's kind of nice.... kind of...

You see, the thoughts that are plaguing my mind have less to do with the workfront, and a whole lot more to do with the homefront!

Everyday, I'm going to have to get myself and the two kids out the door and on the road by 7:30am at the LATEST!
This might be an ok feat for all of those parents out there whose children are up with the birds, but my children don't wake up til after 7:30! In fact, they're moreso on the later side of 8am in the rise & shine category (Bless their little snoozy hearts!).  The thoughts of getting them and myself  de-watered, watered, fed, dressed and presentable --without incident-- is crippling!

I've been preparing for this!
Seriously. I've done my research. I've almost completed a "Control Journal" a là Fly Lady (it's a combo school + home one. Maybe I should call it my "lifer"?!?), which makes things look managable! (I winder where I put it?! lol - kidding) We've started the chillins (our home speak for 'children') on a evening/night time/earlier to bed routine. I've explained to fashionista 4 year old daughter that she will have to pick out one outfit each night before bed to wear the next day (that  should be interesting!).

I've resolved in my heart that I will have to get up each morning at 5:45am -- shower, dressed, eat. At 6:30 wake my sleeping baby (can't believe I have to do this. It will likely spell the end of our nice, after 8am routine -- pout, pout, sigh) -- get him in highchair to eat, change, dress him. I've given my dear husband the job of waking sleeping beauty at 6:45 before he heads to work. (I should really consider making a copy of the 'Lifer Journal' for him; he doesn't realize all the new tasks he's been assigned on said day!) She gets dressed, and uses the washroom (have to include this. She's part camel, yet I"m not pulling over on the side of the road for her to pee in freezing cold February just because she "forgot"!) and will have the breakfast I've laid out the night before... or, will have the back-up "truck worthy" alternative.

While this is happening, I've piled the "stuff" in the truck, fed the dog, loaded dear son into carseat, and have made my coffee for the road. Throw dear daughter in there, and we're off.

The drive won't be so bad; IF the roads are plowed, which the usually are not. But it's about a 45 minute drive to the babysitter's... I digress...
See, even in writing that I'm feeling overwhelmed because I've realized there's nothing out for supper, the breakfast mess is in the sunroom/dining room and kitchen. I'll be coming home to a mess... likely on top of another mess... it's a vicious cycle, also known as my so-called life.

Please, pray for a smooth transition for us into this new routine! I'll be sure to document my progress on here...

...the power of positive thinking...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Generation Gap or Gasp?

Lately, as I've bemoaned my "mommy-only" existence through statues on FB, I've been bombarded by comments from my extended family members:

"Oh, boo hoo... imagine how your grandmother did it way back when with 12 children and no car!"
"Maybe you should call Grammie and ask how she did it!"

Well, while I didn't call the almost-90-year-old darling, those comments did make me reign in my status horns and rethink what I was saying on there.

For the past 11 months I've been a stay at home mom to a 4 year old and a now 11 month old. My days have consisted of little sleep, lots of wiped rear ends, tonnes of messes, lots of futile cleaning missions, and sadly... a mommy-only existence. Somewhere in there, I took minor pauses to finish two Masters of Education courses (by the seat of my pants, mostly) and make monthly visits to the chiropractor to try to correct my poor misaligned body due to carrying large babies in my belly (oh... thanks to hubby's genetic contribution for that!). Other than the aforementioned "breaks", I was in full-on mommy-mode 24/7. I grocery shopped, Christmas shopped, bunny-hopped (not really, but it rhymes), cooked and cleaned, went to skating, hockey games and must-do family functions with two kids in tow. It wasn't easy, nor always enjoyable. All the while, hubby was seriously M.I.A. due to work and renovations at our house. (Note to self: never schedule renovations when on mat leave again!)

So, basically, I was/am frustrated, cranky, wallowing in self-pity, eating from drive thrus during the day while the kiddies napped in the back seat (ah, peace! chomp chomp).

So, how did my grandmother do it? How did hubby's mother do it with four children (bing! bang! boom!, one right after the other) and no driver's license, a prisoner in her own home in a very rural area?

Hubby and I discussed this the other day. We have no idea how they did it. Somewhere between their generations and our's the idea of "mommy" has changed, we think. Hubby suggested that back then maybe they just "didn't give a shit"? They let the kids make messes, cry, scream, fight and simply did without the playtime with mom or the skating and swimming lessons. I, personally, think, at least in my grandmother's case, that after about 4 children they just somehow start to look after and take care of one another. Maybe?

So, will my children be better off than hubby, or my mother, or me? Am I going about this all wrong? Should I simply keep pumping out children (Hold'er! Can't even believe I thought of that) and hope they fend for themselves or should I not give a shit?

I dunno... my house is still in a permanent state of disorder, I'm in desperate need of a vacation, but I think I'm doing something right... my kiddies are pretty happy... I think.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday -- So what do ya think?

My son is going to be 11 months old tomorrow. Lately I've been fielding questions about what I'm doing for his first birthday party next month. The answer is -- not much of anything.

Even though my husband and I grew up on opposite sides of this island, neither of us had birthday parties as kids. Weird by most people's standards. Yes, we had cake (his was always his mother's homemade carrot cake with vanilla icing); we had presents; we got our choice of supper for the night (always pizza for me!), but we didn't do the cone-hat-wearing, streamer-blowing, snotty-nosed kid parties. (Ok... we, or our siblings may have had snotty noses... but, you know what I mean...)

Now that we have our own children, we've passed this "no birthday party" clause on to our family. And, you know what? The more I hear parents gripe about birthday parties, the more I'm glad we're taking our stance.

For instance, in the past two days, the majority of my mommy friends' statuses on Facebook have gone something like the following:
  1. "Ugh. Only a week after Christmas break and son/daughter has to go to 2 parties today."
  2. "Just spent 3 hours stapling colouring books togther for son's birthday party. Why did we invite 40 kids?"
  3. "Good sales at -- going to stock up on birthday party presents!"
  4. "Wow how time flies! Can't believe son is 2 today! All ready except the hor d'oeuvre tray for the parents! Don't know how I'm going to get that done in time :("
  5. "Can't believe daughter will be 1 next month. Going shopping for something really big to surprise her at her party!"
Now, with each of these that I read, I think in my little mind:
  1. Your son/daughter does not have to go to both parties, nor does s/he have to go to any. S/he's 5 years old! It's only a minor blip in his/her life!!!!!!!
  2. Why did you invite 40 kids??!?! Where, with your newborn and 2 other children, do you even find time to create/print/staple 40 colouring books that'll get thrown in the garbage anyway?!?!
  3. Pretty sure, honey, your present will again, be a minor blip in the birthday child's life. Within a few minutes it'll likely get thrown aside, swept up, or re-gifted to someone else!
  4. Who's the party for, honey? You? Your son? The Jones's (of 'Keep Up With the Joneses' fame) next door? 
  5. Um... your daughter is turning O N E! She's only gonna remember her birthday in pictures!
Recently, I tweeted some reasons why I don't do birthday parties. But in the end, the #1 reason remains:
In a world where people increasingly expect more and more and appreciate less and less, I really think that these birthday parties inadvertently teach kids to be greedy or to expect too much material stuff that they won't use or appreciate at too young an age.

Our dear son will enjoy a mini-birthday cake he can poke, lick, prod any way he wishes... at home with his dad, his older sister, and I. As for a gift... well... let's just say it won't be anything too elaborate!